Startup Saturday Overview: Featuring Dave McClure, Rui Ma of 500 Startups and Hong Kong Alum 9GAG and Shopline

We kicked off the first event of 2015 with Dave McClure and Rui Ma of 500 Startups, and the accelerator’s Hong Kong alumni: Ray Chan of 9GAGFiona Lau and Tony Wong of Shopline. If you missed the event, here’s an overview.

McClure covered some ground in his talk – besides giving a snapshot of how 500 has been doing, he also shared his view on startup scenes around the world, accelerator programs, crowdfunding, growth hacking, 2015 tech trends and tips on pitching to investors.

McClure believes that the most competitive startup market outside Silicon Valley is Beijing. He sees talent and innovation in China and he thinks Beijing has a robust startup ecosystem, but worries about startup valuations in the short term. His view on the China startup scene, “long term: bullish, short term: cautious.”

As McClure travels to many cities around the globe, he sees two factors that determine a startup scene and the market opportunity: Mobile phone penetration and mobile payment availability.

He also advises entrepreneurs that growth hacking is crucial in running a startup. “The most important thing for entrepreneurs these days is not learning how to code, but to grow your customer base via multiple online channels: Typically through search, social and mobile,” he said. For reading material on this topic, McClure recommends Gabriel Weinberg’s “Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers.”

Two startups alumni from the 500 Startups also shared their accelerator program experience. 9GAG’s Ray Chan said it’s important to actively seek help within the accelerator program, whether from mentors or alumni and he picked up many introductions through the 500 Startups network.

Shopline’s Fiona Lau had learned distribution strategies and customer acquisition throughout the program, and she agreed with McClure that it’s important for a startup to scale. She attributed Shopline’s growth to the lessons learned from 500 Startups.

One tip she shared on getting more investment is sending out newsletter updates on Shopline. This not only keeps potential investors informed but also helps glean feedback from the startup community.

Lau likens joining an accelerator to a buffet: “If you don’t eat anything, you will die. But if you eat too much, you will also die.” What this means is to be selective with resources and have an objective when attending meetings, instead of signing up for all the mentors’ office hours. She said the mentee should be smart about using the accelerator’s resources.

We’ll have a video up of the event soon but in the meantime, click here to view more photos from the event!

This post is originally published on StartUpsHK – a blog on Hong Kong’s startup community 

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